Another season, another 50 wins for the San Antonio Spurs, reaching that mark for the 15th consecutive time. They beat the Utah Jazz 122-104, lead by Tony parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, while not really making anyone work too hard for the win.
So the Spurs win 10 consecutive games and open a two game lead at the top of the Western confernece. This would have been a 17th consecutive season with 50 wins if it wasn’t for the shortened 1998-1999 season, but it doesn’t really matter. The Spurs are a beacon of excellence in sports, not just basketball, and it doesn’t really matter if it’s all about Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan or simply making the right decisions for the long and short term each and every time a crossroad appears.
Manu Ginobili scored 21 points off the bench in an almost flawless performance from the Argentine, shooting 8-of-11 from the field. The Spurs didn’t really blitz the Jazz at any stage, but simply kept playing at a slightly higher pace throughout the game, outscoring their opponents in each of the four quarters, including a long period of garbage time.
Tim Duncan “had” to play 30 minutes, finishing with 16 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. This wasn’t one of those games in which the Spurs’ interior defense dominates all game long. Derrick Favors had an excellent game with 28 points and 10 rebounds; Enes Kanter was difficult to keep away from the rim, finishing with six offensive rebounds. However, the Jazz got almost nothing from their bench, as it was made quite clear once again that there’s potential to their frontcourt along with the Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke duo. However, until Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams stop clogging their salary cap, there isn’t too much room to grow.
One can look at the Jazz of the 1980’s till the mid 00’s and think of the Spurs. While Jerry Sloan was running the ship, even after the Malone-Stockton era, the Jazz continued to win and be good. However, it’s been a lot more up and down ever since Sloan left basketball, and it just goes to show that even if Tim Duncan will leave the team at one point, as long as the men pulling the strings from the front office don’t leave there’s a bright future for the Spurs.
The Spurs are pretty much going through 25 years of success, at least in the regular season, with only one season of interruption (1996-1997), that won them Tim Duncan in the 1997 NBA draft, which pretty much paved the way for the success we’re seeing from the team now.
It’s hard to say if the Spurs are the favorites to win the NBA. A fully healthy Oklahoma City Thunder team are probably better, or at least have a slight edge. The Rockets gave the Spurs a lot of problems this season whenver the two teams met. It’s not going to be like last year, when the Spurs lost only two games in 14 as they came out of the West more or less unscathed. This year will be more difficult, but there are no signs of slowing down, as even their most impressive winning streaks are coming without anyone having to put in an out-of-this-world effort, which might become more meaningful later on.